Meeting Abstract

P3-32  Sunday, Jan. 6 15:30 - 17:30  Damaged Goods: Do Injuries Affect Swimming Performance During Prey Capture in Bluegill? COHEN, HE*; KANE, EA; Georgia Southern University; Georgia Southern University

Many animals must use some sort of locomotion in order to survive. However, injuries from predators, intraspecific attacks, and disease can affect locomotor performance. In fish, fins are used to swim and maneuver during behaviors such as catching prey, avoiding predation, and finding mates. An injury to their fins can potentially affect their ability to perform these behaviors and even cause mortality. Bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus) are a common freshwater species in North America, have been a model organism for performance studies, and often experience natural injuries. We investigate the effects of fin damage on swimming performance during prey capture in bluegill. We hypothesize that fish with injured fins will show a decrease in performance traits. Individuals were caught from a local hatchery where differences in capture technique resulted in fish with either healthy or damaged fins. Bluegill were recorded with a high speed camera at 500 fps while they captured prey. We predict that approach velocity and acceleration will be slower, predator-prey distance will be shorter, and time to prey capture will be longer in fish with damaged fins. These differences can have consequences for competing for food and capturing evasive prey. If differences aren’t apparent, it may indicate that fish might compensate by using other fins.